J. O’Donnell Timothy

Assistant Professor of Linguistics, McGill University

Timothy J. O’Donnell is an assistant professor, and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Linguistics at McGill University and a CIFAR Canada AI Chair at Mila, the Quebec AI Institute. Previously he was a research scientist at MIT in the department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. He completed his PhD at the Harvard Department of Psychology.

Research projects: Dr. O’Donnell research focuses on developing mathematical and computational models of how people learn to represent, process, and generalize language and music. His work draws on techniques from computational linguistics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, integrating concepts from theoretical linguistics and methods from experimental psychology and looking at problems from all these domains. His research interests include computational models of language learning and processing, lexical semantics, lexicon acquisition, grammar induction, probabilistic models of phonology and morphology, language processing, parsing, mathematical linguistics, formal language theory, probabilistic programming, universal inference algorithms. He is currently studying the learnability of various mechanism for handling wh- and other kinds of movement, developing a model of lexicon learning for non-concatenative morphological systems, such as the Arabic verbal system and extending this approach to capture ideas from the prosodic morphology literature.